New Zealand news December 7, 2012

McCullum takes over as New Zealand captain


Brendon McCullum has been appointed New Zealand's captain in all three formats after Ross Taylor declined an offer to stay on as leader of the Test side in a split-captaincy scenario. Taylor has also chosen to make himself unavailable for the upcoming tour of South Africa, although New Zealand are hopeful he will be back in the side for the home series against England early next year.

The confirmation of the change came at a press conference in Auckland on Friday morning where David White, the New Zealand Cricket CEO, said he regretted the way the captaincy debate had played out in the public spotlight. McCullum, who has previously led New Zealand in eight ODIs and 12 Twenty20s, will become the country's 28th Test captain when the series against South Africa begins on January 2 in Cape Town.

There had been much speculation this week about the future of Taylor since the squad returned from Sri Lanka despite their impressive series-leveling victory in Colombo. In that match Taylor, who took over as captain in 2011 after being preferred to McCullum for the role, scored 142 in the first innings, but it was one of few highlights in a disappointing year for New Zealand, whose only other victory came in the first Test of the year against Zimbabwe.

They lost Test series against South Africa, West Indies and India before the draw in Sri Lanka while they have slipped to ninth in the one-day rankings below Bangladesh. They were also knocked out in the Super Eights of the World Twenty20. It was after the review of that tournament, as well as the tours of India and Sri Lanka, that the coach Mike Hesson recommended splitting the captaincy.

"Mike Hesson proposed a split captaincy that was endorsed by me as CEO and agreed by the board," White said. "The original recommendation was for Ross Taylor to be retained as Test captain and Brendon McCullum to be short-form captain. We regret that Ross Taylor has declined the opportunity, therefore Brendon McCullum has been appointed as Black Caps captain for all three forms of the game.

"I met with Ross ... for about three hours yesterday and we considered a number of different options. One of them was ... for him to go to South Africa and even just play the Test matches if he wanted to do that. But he thought about it long and hard and he said that he would like a break and to spend time with his family and we've agreed with that and we respect that. It's not ideal and we would be a stronger team with Ross Taylor in it."

Despite the change in captaincy, White said he did not believe Taylor had lost the support of his players. "I don't believe he lost the dressing room," White said. "He is well respected."

Hesson, who took over from John Wright as New Zealand's coach in July, said he wanted Taylor to stay on as Test captain and his main concern was that the leadership in all three formats was a lot for anyone to take on. Hesson said split captaincy had worked for other countries and he believed McCullum would have been the best man for the job in the shorter formats.

"Brendon certainly reads the one-day game well and is very adaptable and changes quickly," Hesson said. "The one-day game and the T20 game move very quickly. I think Brendon McCullum has attributes to really add value to our team in that area.

"Split captaincy is something that works and with the high volume of cricket around the world at the moment, for one person to take on all three forms of the game is an extremely difficult task. It's very difficult for anybody to be up to that.

"We play ten months of the year. In terms of planning from series to series it's extremely difficult, to look after your own game and worry about that of the team. Therefore my recommendation was for Ross to stay on as Test captain and focus on that, and also focus on his batting in all three forms, and for Brendon to come in as leader of the one-day and T20 squads."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alan on December 9, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    Well unfortunately it seems some people are believing NZCs lies. Taylor was dumped as captain from all 3 formats, and told he was not good enough to captain his country. This happened just before a tough test series in SL. It was only once the sacking was made public (amid massive public outrage) that Hessan changed his story and said he only meant to dump him from the limited overs teams. These lies should not be tolerated.

    For those that think McCullum will be a better captain - he has already captained NZ, and his record against the top 8 sides is TERRIBLE. Not to mention the disaster when he captained in the IPL. Taylor's record as captain is better than Vettori in the last couple of years of his reign, suggesting Ross has actually improved NZs performances. Probably down to his superb batting since he took charge. Just changing the captain seems a huge gamble, but how it was handled.....disgraceful

  • Jon on December 9, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    I like to think that this side can still do well in Africa. Conditions will be tough but the wickets are pretty good to bat on. We need runs out of our top 6, which will be McCullum, Guptill, Williamson, Flynn, Watling and Brownlie. Bowlers will be Southee, Boult, Bracewell, Patel and Franklin who will bat at 7 as the all-rounder. Not a terrible XI under the circumstances.

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    Only in NZ. Firstly Brendon McCullum is able to play as a batsman only, despite being a quality test keeper. He doesn't want to keep in tests (just play as a test opener, which he'll never be) so NZ Cricket lets him have his way, and brings in another keeper, one who is not a great bat.weakening NZ's batting strength. Then, again, in their infinite wisdon, NZ cricket decides to promote Mc Cullum to captain, putting the team in a position where their best batsman (Taylor) decides not to play the SA tour, so further weakening the already fragile batting strength. Looks like Mr Hesson and Mr McCullum are running NZ cricket. Good luck in SA!!

  • Joe on December 8, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    Hesson argues for split captaincy.. proposed Ross for Test and Brendon for ODIs and T20s. Ross rejected it and Brendon became captain for Test, Odis & T20s... Now every body including Hesson is happy... But Mr. Hesson "where is the split captaincy in it, mate"... This is true politics. Ross is anyday better than Brendon in terms of captaincy... Kane williamson for that matter is better than Brendon for captaincy... so if they want to get rid off Ross then make Brendon or Kane for ODIs and Kane or Guptil for T20s and Kane or the one and only Chris "Phantom" Martin for Test will be ideal...

  • Ross on December 8, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    McCullum's a very dangerous no. 7 batsman who keeps wickets well. In every other role other than that he's not much chop regardless of delusions to the contrary from McCullum & the NZ cricket apparatus.

  • Haroon on December 8, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    Such management don't deserve the incredible Ross Taylor. He has done so much from a personal perspective for the team and has laid a solid foundation. Its like bringing down a pillar and expecting the structure to withstand. Now we know for a fact the Kiwis are going to lose the series in SA. All the best to McCullum, I wouldnt know who else deserves it.

  • Gerald on December 7, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    This is such a bad decision. I can't believe NZ cricket have done so badly that they've succeeded in undermining and ostracising their best player (certainly their best batsman) from the hardest tour coming up. This is NZ Cricket's darkest hour.

    To be honest, I'm not even sure I'd have Brendon McCullum in my team as a player (unless he was keeping wicket) and his only record as Captain is Kolkata Knight Rider's worst IPL ever.

    Shame, shame, shame.

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    Let us say Brendon can rad a game well but if he can't bat well what is the point??? Right now Brendon does not know which game to play. His feet movement clearly demonstrates this.

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    2012 might as well be looked back upon as the year that cricket management tried to take precedence over their countries' most exciting batsmen. West Indies with Gayle, England with Pietersen, New Zealand with both Ryder and Taylor. 2012 also saw Laxman and Dravid retire, as well as Ponting. Had it not been for Clarke and Cook, plus the three great innings from Pietersen, one would have been able to say that 2012 was an awful year for batsmen.

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    So we have Hesson so concerned about the 'burden' of one person having to manage all three formats now having appointed McCullum as Captain of all three formats. How inconsistent? Makes a lot of sense doesn't it? Not! I think with John Wright recently leaving the mix and now Martin Crowe too it is all very fishy!!. It seems Justin Vaughan's last act to appoint Buchanan then leave the CEO role has thrown David White the new CEO a 'hospital pass" because it has all been "fall out' since. i love cricket, the game above all, so if NZ does badly in SA I won't be surprised or even that disappointed! You reap what you sow! And NZ seems to be sowing nothing but disharmony. I won't even go to any games in NZ this season and will just keep enjoying the test commentaries on Cric Info for all test matches!

    I hope Ross Taylor can enjoy some matches for Central!!

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